Default Folder X Documentation
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Default Folder X Settings

Once you've explored Default Folder X's enhancements in your Open and Save dialogs, you'll want to come back to System Preferences to set up additional folder sets, change settings, and manage default folders. You can start doing this by clicking the "Settings..." button in the Default Folder X preference pane. This will display the dialog shown below. The settings are divided among four tabs.

The Menus Tab

  • Show Default Folder X's menu in the menubar: This option places a menu near the right hand side of your menu bar, alongside the time, volume, and other system menus, as shown below. This menu has submenus showing the contents of each folder, and will show files as well as folders. If an Open or Save dialog is on screen, selecting an item from the menu will select it in the file dialog. When you choose an item at any other time, the item will be opened by the Finder.

    There may be some a delay in the initial display of menus for folders containing many items. Turning off the "Show icons in Default Folder X menus" option will reduce the delay.

  • Attach Default Folder X's toolbar to all Open and Save dialogs: Default Folder X normally places a toolbar on the side of all Open and Save dialogs, as described in the "Open & Save Dialogs" section. This gives you access to all of Default Folder X's menus and features. You can use this checkbox to turn that toolbar on and off, while keeping the rest of Default Folder X's features, such as Finder-click, rebound, and any of its commands that can be accessed through command keys.

  • Show icons in the Default Folder X menus: When this option is turned on, Default Folder X will include icons in its menus. The menus will display slightly faster when this option is turned off.

  • Show the contents of folders in submenus: This feature adds submenus to any folder that has folders within it, as shown below. This lets you move to folders many levels away by simply mousing through the menu. Note that there may be a delay in menus appearing for folders that contain large numbers of items. Turning off icons in the menus will shorten this delay.

  • Display previews of files as you mouse over them: If you turn this option on, Default Folder X will show you previews of the files listed in its hierarchical menus as shown below:

  • List parent folders at the bottom of submenus: This setting gives each submenu a set of folders at the bottom showing the "path" to the folder shown in the menu. This allows you to easily go up in the folder hierarchy by simply mousing down to the bottom of the menu.

  • Show available disk space in the disk menu: If you turn this feature on, Default Folder X will display the amount of space free on each disk in its "Computer" menu (which includes all of your disks).

  • Display the last (0 / 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 30 / 50 / 100) recently used folders: This determines how many folders Default Folder X will keep in your Recent Folders menu. When a new folder is added, the oldest one will be forgotten. The "Sort by:" buttons allow you to choose how the folders will be displayed in the menu. Choosing "by Date" will list items in reverse chronological order, with the most recently used folder at the top of the menu, while "by Name" will list them in alphabetical order.

The Open & Save Tab

  • Enable Finder-click (choose a folder by clicking on its Finder window): When you have a file dialog open, you may want to use it to display the contents of a folder you already have open on your Desktop. With this feature turned on, you can simply click on any portion of a Finder window and Default Folder X will display its contents in the open file dialog.

  • Only with: This restricts the "Finder-click" feature so that it only works when you hold down particular modifier keys. The benefit is that you can still have the "gray outlines" feature turned on, but won't see the outlines or folder names hopping around the screen when you don't want to see them.

  • Show gray outlines of Finder windows when the mouse passes over them: To help you see when you have your mouse over an open Finder window, Default Folder X will draw a gray shadow over the window. Clicking on the shadow will switch the contents of an Open or Save dialog to the folder shown in the corresponding window.

  • Show names of Finder windows when the mouse passes over them: Just like the feature above, this is simply another "helper" option to show you when you can click to change the contents of an open file dialog.

  • Choose the Desktop for all other clicks outside a file dialog: When you click outside of a file dialog but don't click on a Finder window, one of two things can happen. If this checkbox is turned on, the click will display the Desktop in the file dialog. If this checkbox is turned off, the click will switch you to the Finder, or another application if you click on one of that application's windows.

  • Show preview, information and tags in Open dialogs: When you have this setting turned on, Default Folder X will display a window below all Open dialogs that shows a preview and information about the currently selected item. By default, the window shows a preview, but clicking on the buttons along the top reveals additional views that display the creation and modification dates of the file or folder, its size, label, Spotlight comments, OpenMeta tags, and file system permissions.

  • Ask for comments and tags in Save dialogs: Turning this option on tells Default Folder X to display the Spotlight comment window, shown below, beneath all Save dialogs. Comments that you add will be saved with the file and indexed by Spotlight, allowing you to use the keywords in your comment for searches and Smart Folders.

    Note that the "Remember this next time" checkbox will automatically refill the box with your comment and set the same label color each time you save. This will speed things up if you are saving many files with the same comments and/or label.

  • Rebound to the last selected file when a file dialog opens: This option causes Default Folder X to re-select the last file you chose in an Open dialog. This can save a lot of scrolling and hunting when you need to open multiple files in a folder one after the other.

  • Make Save dialogs automatically default to the current document's folder: If you choose "Save As" to save a second copy of a document, this option will try to ensure that the Save dialog initially displays the folder that contains the original document. Without this assistance from Default Folder X, some applications will offer to save the new copy of your document in some completely unrelated folder.

  • Open and Save to the same folder: Some applications remember different default folders for their Open and Save dialogs. If you choose Open and select a file in a particular folder, then choose Save As, the Save dialog may offer a different folder as the default location for your new file. Turning on the "Open and Save to the same folder" setting in Default Folder X ensures that the folder shown in the Open and Save dialogs is always the same.

  • Copy filenames in Save dialogs by clicking on them: In a Save As dialog, you must type the name of the file you're saving. Often you already have a file with a similar name, or you may want to replace an existing file by giving your new file the same name. If that's the case, you can click on the an existing file in the Save As dialog to automatically copy its name into the edit box.

  • Only with: This restricts the "click to copy a filename" feature so that it only works when you hold down particular modifier keys. This can help prevent you from accidentally picking up the name of an existing file with an errant click.

The Options Tab

  • Toolbar style: (Black bezel / Black toolbar / Gray sidebar): Default Folder X can display its toolbar in three different ways. The "Black bezel" mode surrounds the entire file dialog with a border, embedding the toolbar along the side, as shown below on the left. The "Black window" form of the toolbar, shown in the middle, creates a small toolbar next to the dialog just large enough to contain the icons. The "Gray sidebar" mode shown on the right attaches a gray tab to the side of the window and contains smaller, color toolbar icons.

  • Align the toolbar with the (Top / Middle / Bottom) of the Open or Save dialog: This setting allows you to set the vertical location of the toolbar icons. Try the different locations and choose the one that feels most comfortable to you.

  • Disable window fading and other graphical effects: Normally, Default Folder X's user interface has smooth fading-in, fading-out, or zooming when windows appear or move. Turning on this checkbox will disable those effects, in case they are overworking the graphics card in your Mac, or if you'd just like things to go as fast as possible.

  • Open Favorite folders when their hotkeys are pressed in (The Finder / Any application): If you assign hotkeys to your Favorite folders in Default Folder X's main window, using them in an Open or Save dialog will always take you to the appropriate folder. With this feature turned on, the same hotkeys will pop the folders open in the Finder when you press a hotkey in the Finder or in any application (depending upon your setting).

  • Go to a folder in Terminal by choosing it while holding down the (Control / Option / Command) key: If you are an OS X power-user that types Unix commands in the Terminal to get to the nuts and bolts of OS X, this option can be very useful. This feature causes Default Folder X to execute the "cd" command in a Terminal window when you choose a folder from the Favorite or Recent menu while holding down the appropriate key. If you just saved something in an Save dialog and now want to run some Unix commands in that directory, this is an easy shortcut to get there.

  • Use (Super Get Info / FileXaminer / XRay / FileBuddy) for the "Get Info" command: If you have one or more of these utilities installed on your Macintosh, this option will be enabled. Selecting it makes Default Folder X rely on the selected utility when you choose "Get Info" from Default Folder X's Utility menu. This can be very useful because these utilities offer more options and capabilities than Default Folder X's built-in Get Info panel.

  • When opening a folder in the Finder (Switch to the Finder / Stay in the Open or Save dialog): This setting determines what will happen when you choose "Open in the Finder" from Default Folder X's Utility menu. If you select "Switch to the Finder", the Open or Save dialog will automatically close, the folder will open in the Finder, and it will become the frontmost window. If you choose "Stay in the Open or Save dialog", Default Folder X will open the window behind the current application, letting you finish opening or saving your file before you use the Finder window you just opened.

The Advanced Tab

  • Exclude Default Folder X from the following applications: While Default Folder X has been tested with many applications and under many conditions, there is always a slight chance that it will be incompatible with a program you are using. If you discover a problem, you can prevent Default Folder X from loading in that application by adding it to this list. Click the "Add Application" button to add a program to the list. After you have done this, we'd appreciate it if you would also drop us an email at and let us know about the problem so we can correct it in the next version of Default Folder X.

  • Switch to an application's default folder every time a file dialog is displayed: In some applications, or when a computer is being used by children or students, you may want Default Folder X to always make Open and Save dialogs start in an application's default folder. Turning on this option causes that to happen.

  • Hold down the option key while choosing Open to display all files: If you hold down the option key while selecting "Open" from the menu in a Carbon application, Default Folder X will allow you to select any file in the resulting Open dialog, not just those that the application normally understands. This does not mean that the application will know what to do with the file when you open it. The feature is primarily useful for using Default Folder X's other commands, such as Get Info, on a file that you wouldn't normally be able to select in the file dialog.

  • Hold down the option key while choosing "Move to Trash" to skip warnings: Normally, Default Folder X will ask you "Are you sure?" before moving an item to the Trash. Turning on this preference allows you to hold down the Option key to bypass those warnings.

  • Create aliases of Recent Folders and Favorites in your Library folder: If you turn on this option, Default Folder X will maintain folders full of aliases to all of your Recent Folders and Favorite folders. This can be very useful if you want to use some other application, such as FruitMenu or the Dock, to access the same folders that you can get to through Default Folder X. The folders containing these aliases, named Recent Folders and Favorites, will be located in the Library folder within your home folder.

  • Automatically check for updates (Daily / Weekly / Monthly): Default Folder X can check with St. Clair Software's web site and alert you when a new version becomes available. We strongly recommend that you leave this feature turned on, as we update Default Folder X periodically to add features, correct bugs, and ensure compatibility with new versions of Mac OS X as Apple releases them. This feature is smart, in that it will not try to perform the check if you are not connected to the Internet.

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